Nutrients In Eggs

Eggs are a nutrient goldmine!

One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein, all for 70 calories.

While egg whites contain some of the eggs’ high-quality protein, riboflavin and selenium, the majority of an egg’s nutrient package is found in the yolk. Nutrients such as:

  • Vitamin D, critical for bone health and immune function. Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D.
  • Choline, essential for normal functioning of all cells, but particularly important during pregnancy to support healthy brain development of the fetus.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are believed to reduce the risk of developing cataracts and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a disease that develops with age.

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Introducing FUN FACT FRIDAYS! A large, whole egg measures about three tablespoons

Recently, all of us eggheads over at ENC decided to create special weekly blog entries that provide a fun fact about egg nutrition. And so, Fun Fact Fridays was hatched! We hope you learn new things about the incredible nutritional value of eggs and return each week for a new fact!

Did you know a large, whole egg measures about three tablespoons? It’s true!  The egg white makes up two tablespoons of liquid, while the yolk is one tablespoon. Don’t be fooled, though, the yolk is the true powerhouse of the egg as it contains the most nutrients. In fact, egg yolks contain seven vitamins – B6, folate, B-12, A, D, E and K. When it comes to minerals, the yolk also contains the majority of most found in eggs. For example, 93 percent of an egg’s iron is in the yolk, while a mere seven percent is in the egg white. Egg yolks also contain vital nutrients like carotenoids for eye health and choline, a little-known but essential nutrient that contributes to fetal brain development and helps prevent birth defects.

So, the next time you eat an egg, don’t skip the yolk!

Bite Into Breakfast and You May Also Take a Bite Out of Diabetes

Today’s blog post is written by Allison Fischer, Dietetic Intern at Loyola University.

Enjoy!

By now you have most certainly heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There are many benefits to eating breakfast – positive impacts on learning and memory, increased likelihood of meeting daily nutrient intake recommendations, lower BMI, and avoiding weight gain. Another study area is relationship between breakfast consumption and decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes (TD2).

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the relationship between eating patterns and T2D risk in men. Almost 30,000 health professionals were followed twenty years and provided information regarding their medical histories, lifestyles and health related behaviors. Their diets were assessed according to reported foods eaten and dietary patterns based on when and how often they ate daily. Diet quality was reflected as a prudent diet (increased fruit, vegetable, fish, poultry, and whole grain consumption) or a Western diet (increased red and processed meats, French fries, high-fat dairy, refined grains, sweets, and dessert consumption). This information was then synthesized to evaluate health habits and diabetes risks.

Out of all the men in the study, 83% consumed breakfast. These men generally had healthier lifestyle factors – slightly lower BMIs, smoked less, exercised more, better diet quality, consumed less alcohol and more cereal fiber, and drank less coffee. After adjusting for age, there was a 50% greater risk for T2D in men who did not eat breakfast versus the men who did. This was significant even after adjusting for other dietary and T2D risk factors. Even after adjusting for BMI (well known to correlate with T2D risk), skipping breakfast resulted in a 21% greater risk. The most significant increased risk came from skipping breakfast and having a Western dietary pattern, than for each factor separately.

While there is still work to be done to better understand the link between breakfast and diabetes, here is just one more reason to encourage getting the day off to a healthful start. Be sure to fill your plate with healthy foods, including a quality protein, fruits or vegetables, low or no fat dairy and complex carbohydrates. Fuel yourself for a healthy day and a healthy future!

The Egg is Incredible

What makes them incredible? Eggs are one of nature’s most nourishing creations and an Egg A Day is OK for everyone! Eggs are an affordable, convenient source of high quality protein with varying amounts of the 13 essential vitamins and minerals. To top it off they are only 70 calories, so it is considered a nutrient dense food meaning a high amount of nutrition compared to their calorie content. In addition, scientists often use egg protein as the standard against which they judge all other proteins. Based on the essential amino acids it provides, egg protein is second only to mother’s milk for human nutrition. All this great nutrition for only 15 cents an egg!

Where are the nutrients in an egg-the white or an egg yolk? Here are some highlights: 60 % of the protein is found in the white and 40 % of the protein is in the yolk. However, many of the other key vitamins and minerals are found primarily in the yolk-choline, vitamin D, selenium, riboflavin, phosphorus, B12 and more. Cholesterol is also found in the yolk, but more than 40 years of research has shown that healthy adults can eat eggs without significantly affecting their risk for heart disease.

Happy Friday and check out the Facebook post from Incredible Edible Egg for a review of the lower cholesterol information as well as a recipe for mini breakfast pizzas.

Vitamin D and the Sunny Side of Eggs

While USA Today discussed how important Vitamin D is and that many people are deficient, they forgot to mention that eggs are a natural and good source of Vitamin D. For those who aren’t aware, the USDA recently reviewed the egg nutrient data and results show that one Grade A, large egg contains 41 IU of vitamin D, 65 percent higher than the amount reported in the last nutrient analysis.

Egg Nutrition Center recently released a press release on the Sunny Side of Eggs. We as health professionals are aware of the many implications Vitamin D deficiency may have on health-one particular role is Vitamin D and Calcium in bone health and preventing osteoporosis. It will be interesting to see how the research emerges on the Vitamin D issue, but for now adding more natural vitamin D, along with high-quality protein and 12 other essential vitamins and minerals is simple with eggs (and remember it is the company an egg shares-think of MyPlate, not foods high in calories and saturated fat).

Ken Anderson Study: Free Range versus Cage

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The nutritional value of free-range versus cage-produced shell eggs has been a source of ongoing controversy in recent years. Many websites and other publications have touted the health benefits of eggs from free-range birds. However, the fact of the matter is that little scientific evidence exists to support this assertion. And a recent publication by Dr. Ken Anderson from North Carolina State University (Poultry Science 90:1600-1608, 2011) bears this out. Dr. Anderson looked at the fat, cholesterol, and vitamin content of eggs from free-range birds versus conventional cage birds. And his data indicated no difference in the cholesterol content of the eggs (163 mg per large egg for the caged birds; 165 mg per large egg for free-range birds). Similarly, the vitamin A and E content of the eggs were not affected by the conditions to which the birds were exposed. In fact, the total fat content of the free-range birds’ eggs was actually higher than that of the caged birds (the authors hypothesized that this may have been due to the relatively high-fat insects that the free-range hens had access to). A recent study in Europe (Hidalgo et al., Food Chem 106:1031-1038, 2008) demonstrated similar results (free-range eggs no better than caged hen eggs).

No doubt that this debate will continue, largely because it is so tinged with emotion. But science, well done, is free of emotion. And current science doesn’t support the notion that the manner in which laying hens are raised can impact the nutritional quality of the eggs they produce. In fact, raising birds in a more controlled environment offers the ability to better control the diet, thus raising the potential for creating even more healthy egg products in the future.

To read more, please see the press release the Poultry Science Association put out with Ken Anderson.  http://www.poultryscience.org/pr081511.asp?autotry=true&ULnotkn=true

~Mitch